torment

noun
tor·​ment | \ ˈtȯr-ˌment How to pronounce torment (audio) \

Definition of torment

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : extreme pain or anguish of body or mind : agony She wrung her hands piteously together, looking like a soul in torment.— Lucy Maud Montgomery
2 : a source of vexation or pain Love is a delight; but hate a torment.— Herman Melville … the twin torments of his probable manic depression and chronic stomach pains.— Neal Karlen
3 : the infliction of torture (as by rack or wheel)

torment

verb
tor·​ment | \ tȯr-ˈment How to pronounce torment (audio) , ˈtȯr-ˌment How to pronounce torment (audio) \
tormented; tormenting; torments

Definition of torment (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to cause severe usually persistent or recurrent distress of body or mind to cattle tormented by flies tormented by doubt She liked me, but she laughed at me, and tormented me …— Charles Dickens

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Other Words from torment

Verb

tormented adjective
… Emily — who is easily one of the most tormented characters of the show … — Rowan Born The Witch makes the mundane sinister, from the tormented shapes of the corn husks in the field to the weird glow of pewter by candlelight. — Katy Waldman

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Verb

afflict, try, torment, torture, rack mean to inflict on a person something that is hard to bear. afflict is a general term and applies to the causing of pain or suffering or of acute annoyance, embarrassment, or any distress. ills that afflict the elderly try suggests imposing something that strains the powers of endurance or of self-control. children often try their parents' patience torment suggests persecution or the repeated inflicting of suffering or annoyance. a horse tormented by flies torture adds the implication of causing unbearable pain or suffering. tortured by a sense of guilt rack stresses straining or wrenching. a body racked by pain

Examples of torment in a Sentence

Noun No one could understand his inner torment. After years of torment, she left her husband. The mosquitoes were a constant torment. Verb Not knowing where she was tormented him. he was tormented by nightmares about the accident
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Unlike many of the historical films of this genre, these stories are not overly invested in romance as much as they're invested in dissecting the triumphs and torments of talent. Robyn Bahr, The Hollywood Reporter, "The Rise of the Feminist Musical Drama: 'Judy' and Other Films Spotlight Talent Over Romance," 15 Nov. 2019 The torment that leaves the young men and women physically and mentally shattered also leaves them stranded. Washington Post, "Migrants endure rape and torture on route through Yemen," 2 Nov. 2019 Just when the psychological torment seems to be too much to bear, the film shifts gears yet again. Wired, "The 12 Best Foreign Horror Movies You Can Stream Right Now," 28 Oct. 2019 The psychological torment of being away from your teammates for such a long time and feeling detached would have a detrimental impact on most players, but Reid isn't showing any sign of that. SI.com, "Blow For West Ham as Winston Reid Suffers Cruel Injury Setback," 9 Oct. 2019 The torment of Ciudad Mier, suffering in its dust and neglect, was that the fabulous kingdom of money was just down the street and over the narrow river. Paul Theroux, New York Times, "Paul Theroux’s Mexican Journey," 23 Sep. 2019 His torment on being separated from his love as the war ends is brutally realistic. Tom Titus, Daily Pilot, "On Theater: A compelling ‘Miss Saigon’ revival," 3 Oct. 2019 This time, our parisien lives in his hometown, in full May ’68, and his life consists of going to demonstrate, going to the film library, and undergoing his existential torments in grand Haussmanian apartments. Lauren Collins, The New Yorker, "The French Authors Puncturing the Myth of “French Women Don’t Get Fat”," 19 Sep. 2019 But in the midst of his torment, sitting distraught in the locker room, Andy Roddick was struck by Federer's act of kindness in the aftermath of victory. Ravi Ubha, CNN, "Roger Federer: The power and presence of the $120 million man," 27 June 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Five years later, Reich can recall with excruciating detail the day he was personally tormented by Justin Houston. Jim Ayello, Indianapolis Star, "Insider: Before the Colts take the field, they turn to Justin Houston for the final word," 19 Nov. 2019 In myth, the Furies were known for tormenting those who turn on their creators—children against parents, usually, but it's been argued that the film's alien is serving a similar purpose, punishing the hubris of humanity. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, "Alien’s origin story chestbursts anew in stirring new documentary," 11 Oct. 2019 The last treason conviction in the U.S. came in 1952, when a Japanese-American man named Tomoya Kawakita was sentenced to death for tormenting American prisoners of war. Jason Silverstein, CBS News, "What is treason and who can be convicted of it?," 30 Sep. 2019 When the classmate began to torment London, who is two years younger than her brother, Kim began searching for solutions. Edward Lee, baltimoresun.com, "Trained in Baltimore, 10-year-old London Navarro seeks to add another Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu title," 23 Sep. 2019 Or consider how a bully could use the technology to torment schoolmates. Wired, "Facebook, Microsoft Back Contest to Better Detect Deepfakes," 5 Sep. 2019 Played by a burly, bearded, brooding Joaquin Phoenix, Joe is a man haunted by grief and tormented (but also comforted) by thoughts of suicide. A. O. Scott, New York Times, "Review: Joaquin Phoenix Is a Melancholy Avenger in ‘You Were Never Really Here’," 4 Apr. 2018 Critics have described his thrillers, which were both produced and distributed by A24, as tormenting and deranged, but enthralling all the while. Sonia Rao, BostonGlobe.com, "Indie studio breaks the rules of Hollywood," 8 Aug. 2019 Critics have described his thrillers, which were both produced and distributed by A24, as tormenting and deranged, but enthralling all the while. Sonia Rao, BostonGlobe.com, "Indie studio breaks the rules of Hollywood," 8 Aug. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'torment.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of torment

Noun

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for torment

Noun

Middle English, from Anglo-French turment, torment, from Latin tormentum torture; akin to torquēre to twist — more at torture entry 1

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Time Traveler for torment

Time Traveler

The first known use of torment was in the 13th century

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Statistics for torment

Last Updated

3 Dec 2019

Cite this Entry

“Torment.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/tormenting. Accessed 13 December 2019.

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More Definitions for torment

torment

noun
How to pronounce torment (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of torment

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: extreme physical or mental pain
: something that causes extreme physical or mental pain

torment

verb
How to pronounce torment (audio) How to pronounce torment (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of torment (Entry 2 of 2)

: to cause (someone or something) to feel extreme physical or mental pain

torment

verb
tor·​ment | \ tȯr-ˈment How to pronounce torment (audio) \
tormented; tormenting

Kids Definition of torment

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : to cause severe suffering of body or mind to Flies tormented the cattle.
2 : vex sense 1, harass All last year we tormented Webb. Mostly little stuff, like messing with his locker …— Jerry Spinelli, Crash

torment

noun
tor·​ment | \ ˈtȯr-ˌment How to pronounce torment (audio) \

Kids Definition of torment (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : extreme pain or distress of body or mind
2 : a cause of suffering in mind or body The waiting was torment.

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More from Merriam-Webster on torment

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for torment

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with torment

Spanish Central: Translation of torment

Nglish: Translation of torment for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of torment for Arabic Speakers

Comments on torment

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